There has been a great deal of verbiage in many circles about the occaision of Chinese leader Hu Jintao making a state visit to America. Much of it is simply overblown and unnecessarily hostile.Allow me to make a few points.
China's military buildup is only to be expected in a proud, centuries-old country that has known the shame and stigma of being weak and invaded by powerful neighbors. America has not known the tramp of foreign boots on its soil for centuries. For China, the last time it happened was a mere 60 odd years ago, and that memory is brutal and quite fresh.
The military buildup itself is something that bears watching, but it isn't the imminent threat it appears to be at first, especially to the US. For instance, much is being made of China's new 'stealth' fighter, the China's J-20. While a definite advance,it doesn't even come close to other stealth fighters in the arena, is highly vulnerable to air-to-air attack, dependent on Russian parts and technology (which ought to clue you into something in terms of its ultimate utility)and is being produced in very limited numbers.
Also, China's blue water navy is markedly inferior to the US Navy.
China historically has never been an imperialist or aggressive nation except for those areas immediately on its borders like Tibet,North Vietnam or Korea it regards, rightly or wrongly as a necessary 'buffer zone'. Tread in China's buffer zone and traditionally you invite a forceful response, but otherwise,the Chinese historical attitude is best described as simply wanting to be left alone.
Again, China's history plays in here,particularly its experiences with Russia and Japan and the Europeans in the 19th century with the aggressions known as the Opium Wars and the seizing of treaty ports and concessions.
And finally, let me ask you a simple question..if you were China, would you want to get into a war with your best export customer, a country your economy depends on that holds $800 billion of your money as debt?
Again, rightly or wrongly, the Chinese look at this as their own concern, just as they generally regard the internal affairs of another country as off limits to comment on. Incidents like the execrable Senator Harry Reid calling Chinese President Hu Jintao 'a dictator' as Reid did yesterday are an incredible faux pas. Jintao of course maintained his demeanor ( showing anger would have meant a loss of face) but it was an extremely stupid insult that accomplished nothing.
The Chinese, never having had a democracy in a fractious country have no understanding of free speech as we permit it here, but they understand hierarchy. Obama permitting Reid to mouth off without rebuking him was seen as a major sign of weakness on Obama's part.
As I pointed out previously, China is vulnerable on several counts.
It is a manufacturing country heavily dependent on exports for foreign capital and social stability, still developing its infrastructure and its domestic markets, and lacking in the honest and relatively transparent financial and governmental infrastructure to handle the foreign capital coming in (which is why the money you spend for cheap Chinese goods at WalMart mostly ends up in Europe and the US as debt purchase).
And finally, China is an aging society with low birthrates and no appreciable immigration or prospect of it.
This doesn't mean that we should allow them to get away with what sometimes amounts to predatory and unfair trade practices. Far from it. But it's also important to remember that many American corporations have literally been forced to outsource manufacturing and jobs to China because of predatory tax policies and arcane regulations. Get rid of those and apply some judiciously used tariffs in certain areas and not only would we lower our trade deficit and unemployment by improving our domestic manufacturing, we would encourage Chinese companies to build plants here...just as the Japanese and Europeans did.
It's important to keep these sort of things in mind when considering our relationship with China.